Snow-capped peaks near Lake Sumner
Image: Dave Quested ©


Remote high-country lakes, beech-clad mountains, wide rivers and hot springs complete this picturesque landscape, a tramper’s mecca and a safe haven for endangered species.


Land classification review: Have your say about a proposal to review the land classification status of St James Conservation Area and adjoining public conservation lands including Lake Sumner Forest Park.

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Place overview


  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Lake Sumner Forest Park

About track difficulties
About hut categories


Brown trout are the most common fish in the rivers and lakes, although quinnat salmon are also caught.

Lake Sumner offers good fishing, both from a boat and from the shore. Lake Taylor is good for spin-fishing, with the southern end being sheltered in a nor’wester or you can fly fish the edges on a windless day.

The seasons for fishing on Lakes Taylor and Sumner, Loch Katrine and the Hurunui, and the Hope and Nina rivers vary. The seasons and regulations are detailed in the latest Fish and Game Sports Fishing Regulations, provided when you purchase a fishing licence from fishing or outdoor sports shops, Fish and Game council offices and information or visitor centres.



  • The Hurunui River is suitable for kayaking and rafting.
  • Maori Gully provides a challenge.
  • Sail and boat on Lake Sumner and Loch Katrine.
  • Boats can be launched at Loch Katrine and taken through to Lake Sumner via the canal that connects the two lakes.


Note: Vehicle access to Loch Katrine is 4WD only.

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    About this place

    Nature and conservation


    The park is mostly beech forest/tawhai, low forest and shrubland of mountain ribbonwood/houhi (on slips and gullies) and kānuka/mānuka on dry previously burnt areas; subalpine shrubland, alpine snow tussockland; and tussock grassland in the drier east.


    At least 10 species of native fish are present in the streams and lakes. Birdlife here includes blue duck/whio, yellowhead/mohua, kea, NZ falcon/kārearea, long tailed bat/pekapeka, yellow crowned parakeet/kākāriki and great spotted kiwi/roroa.

    Other features

    • The Upper Hope Ecological Area, which is a representative area of vegetation gradients and park fauna.
    • Lake Marion and Morris Tarn are small lakes surrounded by forest, unusual for Canterbury. They contain no exotic fish. Lake Marion is a Faunistic Reserve under Fisheries Regulations, controlled by DOC, one of only two in the South Island.
    • Numerous geopreservation sites within and near the park; the Sumner lakes area has excellent relic glacial-lake features, Hurunui River hot springs, Hope River hot springs.

    History and culture

    The area has numerous sites associated with Ngāi Tahu and Pakeha travel to and from the West Coast.

    Pakeha sites include Nos 1 and 2 huts, upper Hurunui, Amuri Pass track, Dozies Hut of earth construction near upper Hurunui Gorge, road workers hut at Boyle Lodge (1930s).

    Getting there

    Lake Sumner Forest Park lies 100 km northwest of Christchurch between the Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass National Park.

    From Christchurch, take SH1 north, then turn onto SH7 at Waipara. The turn-off from SH7 to Lakes Taylor, Katrine and Sumner is signposted just before the historic Hurunui Hotel.

    Another popular entry point is at Windy Point, further along the highway near the Boyle River. 

    For access to the Carlyle Hut Route from SH7 permission is required from Glenhope Station, phone +64 3 315 7697

    View a map of the access points to tracks in Lake Sumner Forest Park and Lewis Pass.


    From Christchurch, Lazerline Coaches run to Nelson, East West Coach Services run to Westport.

    Know before you go

    NZ Topo50 maps that cover the park include BT22, BT23, BT24, BU21, BU22, BU23, BU24, BV22, BV23.


    Rangiora Office
    Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
    Address:   32 River Road
    Rangiora 7400
    Full office details
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